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The LWA Response to the National Food Strategy

THE LWA RESPONSE TO THE NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY

‘Another food system is possible and urgent, but this won’t get us there’

‘Be bolder, go further’

A few weeks ago, Part 1 of the National Food Strategy (NFS) was released. Rebecca Laughton, a grower and campaigns coordinator for Landworkers Alliance, and co-author of the Peoples’ Food Policy is on the advisory panel. However, she was not allowed to share the report with us for comment in advance of its release, nor was she given time to discuss and debate the content, as would be expected of an Advisory Panel.The need for a National Food Strategy is pressing. A NFS should be a collectively determined vision and set of policies designed to get there. It should be drawn from the lived experiences of a cross section of civil society. When compared to the People’s Food Policy, produced by LWA in collaboration with many other unions, organisations and NGOs on a limited budget, the democratic mandate, vision and strength of proposals is disappointing. As it stands the NFS is not a strategy; it’s a synthesis of information collected by Henry Dimbleby – an entrepreneur who owns LEON’s restaurants. He has met with a wide range of people and read a huge array of documents, but we’ve ended up with an essay of Henry’s thoughts on the food system, rather than a democratic roadmap for our food system.

Reclaiming our food system

The report begins with a damning critique of the health impacts of the industrial food system and makes some brave recommendations to a government that has historically left food to the market. It states that “The single most important force that shapes our food environment is the free market,” and makes the case for intervention to correct market failures. It calls for regulation to protect public health, defends taxation (the sugar tax) and other interventions.

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Reaching the End of Early Stimulus – What’s Ahead?

Reaching the End of Early Stimulus – What’s Ahead?

Many people thought that COVID-19 would be gone with a short shutdown. They also thought that the world’s economic problems could be cured with a six month “dose” of stimulus.

It is increasingly clear that neither of these assumptions is correct. Despite the claims of epidemiologists, our best efforts have never been able to reduce the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases for the world as a whole for any significant period of time. In fact, the latest week seems to be the highest week so far.

Figure 1. Chart of worldwide COVID-19 new cases, in chart prepared by Worldometer with data through September 20, 2020.

At the same time, the economy, despite all of the stimulus, is not doing very well. Airlines are doing very poorly. The parts of the economy that are dependent upon tourism are having huge problems. This reduces the “upside” of economic recovery, pretty much everywhere, until it can be corrected.

Another part of the world economy doing poorly is clothing sales. For example, many fewer people are attending concerts, weddings, funerals, out-of-town business meetings and conventions, leading to a need for fewer “dressy” clothes. Also, with air travel greatly reduced, people don’t need new clothing for visiting places with different climates, either. Most clothing is bought by people from rich countries but made by people in poor countries. This cutback in clothing purchases disproportionately affects people who are already very poor. The loss of jobs in these countries may lead to an inability to afford food, for those who are laid off.

Besides these difficult to solve problems, initial programs set up to help mitigate job losses are running out. What kinds of things might governments do, if they are running short of borrowing capacity, and medical solutions still seem to be far away?

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Politics in the Age of the Coronavirus. What can we learn from the Italian Elections? 

Politics in the Age of the Coronavirus. What can we learn from the Italian Elections?

Sep 20, 2020. The president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, votes at the Italian regional elections. In these elections, the first in the age of the COVID, the victory went to the Left largely by means of over a better strategy in managing people’s perceptions of the epidemic. Here, I report some personal considerations on how this result may tell us something about the coming US presidential election.

The regional elections of this weekend in Italy were held after a debate still dominated by the COVID epidemics. Although the virus itself was not mentioned so much in the speeches and in the political programs, the rest of the debate was shallow and lacking ideas on both sides. The Left was unable to propose anything better than “restarting growth,” and the Right little more than vague talks of “Italexit.”

So, the COVID epidemic hovered like a ghost over everything that was said and done. The Left coalition, the parties supporting the current government, had placed their bets on appearing tough on the epidemic. The government-controlled media tried to reinforce this perception by doing their best to terrorize citizens with daily catastrophistic reports. This strategy had a risk: if the elderly were to stay at home for fear of being infected at the polling station, then a disaster was looming for those parties that relied on their vote: in particular the Democratic Party (the former communists).

The Right, instead, never found a coherent strategy on the epidemic. Sometimes, it tried to convince its electorate that the epidemic was brought to Italy by black immigrants from Africa, but that worked only on people already convinced that all evils in Italy arrive from Africa.

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Blain’s Morning Porridge – Sept 22nd 2020: Rocketmen and Viruses

Blain’s Morning Porridge – Sept 22nd 2020: Rocketmen and Viruses

 

“I’m the King of rock and roll, completely…”

From the Ministry of Common Sense: “To celebrate this morning’s Autumn Equinox, we’ve decided to commit economic suicide.”

The pandemic is a pernicious little beast.  It clearly eats away brains. Rising infections are a risk.  In the face of clear evidence fewer people are dying and the medical services are coping better with Covid cases – we could assess that risk, and would probably conclude its better to stay broadly open. Or we can let fear and emotion run us: let’s stay safe by closing down while hoping and praying for a vaccine next year. Hope is never a good strategy – action is. The choice is pain today as more people might die earlier from the infection, or pain tomorrow as jobs, livelihoods, and more deaths result long-term from economic shutdown.

Choices, choices… Both approaches have clear costs. But one is clearly preferable to the other – if government had the guts to say it.

The brutal reality is deaths hump upwards during the autumn and winter from respiratory illness. Markets get it. Markets are about assessing risks and outcomes. Which is why they’ve stalled – losing confidence and knowing both long and short-term economic costs will be lower if we shift towards keeping the economy on track to recovery, and facing down the virus. It’s not just Sweden that get’s that. Compare and contrast the UK approach with Germany – which is going to brazen it out by keeping the economy as open as practical. Germany will suffer a far lower hit.

Just as the UK economy was struggling back onto its knees, it will get the legs kicked from under it. There is now zero-talk of swift recovery – estimates are now for 2022 before the economy claws back its likely 7% drop in 2020. A W-shape looks nailed-on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Building Bioregional Food Systems Post-COVID 19: The Northeast Healthy Soil Network & the power of regional food system reform consortium work

COVID-19 has reminded us, perhaps as never before, that we need an overhaul, not only of our health care system, but our food system as well. [1]  As a steady stream of studies and articles point out, a priority of future] food system policy should be to support the emergence of local and regional, diversified, healthy food and farming systems, derived from fertile, carbon-rich soils.

Over the course of 2019, I helped to coordinate a network of food system stakeholders in the Northeast, as a researcher at the Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute.[2] This network, now called the Northeast Healthy Soil Network (NEHSN), held a symposium in late February, right before the coronavirus pandemic put an end to most public gatherings in the US. This growing network of Northeast farmers, farm organizations, food system nonprofits, agricultural research labs and state governments has come together to discuss how we can channel badly needed funds and resources to regenerative farmers in the Northeast region who are promoting biodiversity, holistic livestock management, and other healthy soil management[3] practices on their farms.


The agricultural policy strategies proposed by NEHSN members[4] parallel those of many other farmers across the nation’s various regions. They are aimed at agricultural subsidy reform, proposing that our food system should incentivize not a small handful of specific crops, but rather the production of a wider variety of foods and crops, which would not only feed greater numbers of Americans with affordable, nutritious food, but also engender healthy ecosystem services such as soil erosion prevention, water conservation, watershed cleanup, and biodiversity. An incentive payment system for healthy soil farm management could become the first government-backed fund stream for this healthier system of farming.[5]

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The ‘new normal’ has been postponed (and probably canceled)

The ‘new normal’ has been postponed (and probably canceled)

There remains a hope that once we get past the economic and social effects of the pandemic, all of us will be able to return to something resembling normal life before the pandemic—even if it is a “new normal” marked by heightened vigilance and protection against infectious disease and more work at home for office workers as companies realize they don’t need to maintain as much expensive office space.

But the date for this recovery to a new normal seems to keep getting postponed. The International Air Transport Association now projects a full recovery in international passenger traffic will take until 2024, a year later than the association projected back in April. The hotel industry will get a bit of a jump on the airline industry with a projected recovery by 2023The situation is so bad for restaurants that no one seems to be willing to project a date for anything that might be called a recovery.

Office building owners—who are suffering lower rent collections and lease cancellations—seem lucky in comparison with a recovery expected by the end of 2022.

Retailers of all kinds continue to suffer as closures abound throughout the United States. And, anyone who relies on commuter foot traffic for sales is hurting.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank just signaled that in the wake of such a sluggish economy it will keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2023. One commentator provided a list of hobbies that Fed board members could take up to fill their time between now and then.

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How to Tackle the Depression Head On

How to Tackle the Depression Head On

“I want to see people get money.” – Donald J. Trump, U.S. President, September 17, 2020

“Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet.” – Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, September 14, 2020

Money for the People

The real viral contagion that has infected the American populace is not an illness of the body.  It’s something far worse than COVID-19.  The American populace is suffering from an illness of the mind.

The general malady, as we diagnose it, is the unwavering belief that the government has an endless supply of free money, and the expectation that everyone, except the stinking rich, has claim to it.  Why pursue self-reliance and independence when a series of stimulus acts promises the more abundant life?  This viral contagion’s really ripped through the population in 2020.

For example, just a year ago, the American populace thought they could all live off the forced philanthropy of their neighbors.  That to pay Paul you had to first rob Peter.  The CARES Act proved to Boobus americanus that, without a shadow of a doubt, there’s free ‘money for the people’ in Washington.  Sí se puede!

This week the Congress did its part to further the greatest show on earth.  The people want stimulus.  Congress intends to get to them, in good time.

Of course, the need to sprinkle the Country with printing press money was already a foregone conclusion.  There was no discussion of the wisdom of not having a stimulus bill.  The debate at hand was centered on how much.

Crazy Nancy wants $3.4 trillion.  Senate Republicans want $500 billion.  Something called the House Problem Solvers Caucus wants $2 trillion.

President Trump wants Republicans to “go for the much higher numbers.”  His rationale: “it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).”

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Some States Looking at Ankle Bracelet to Enforce Home Confinement

Some states are now looking to impose the very same restriction they do with criminals by forcing people to wear bracelets to enforce home confinement. There is just way too much evidence that this virus is so minimal it is insane. There is simply another agenda going on or we have the largest crop of brain-dead politicians in human history. This does not leave us with much of a solution. I fear that elections will become suspended, as was the case in New Zealand and Hungary, but on a more permanent basis.

I have warned that our computer is showing a much darker future post-2024. We are spiraling down into the leftist hole where human rights are suspended in the name of protecting them. I was speaking to a person who hates Trump and they said that “conservatives are only concerned about taxes” and they will get what they deserve. The problem they are ignorant about is simply that whatever Draconian measure they wish to inflict upon “conservatives” cannot be accomplished without subjecting themselves to the same actions. Strip them of free speech and so will they. Just look at Melbourne, Australia. To impose their lockdown to protect people, all civil liberties are denied and that applies to everyone — not just the dissenters.

These people have reduced food production and destroyed the economy, sending unemployment on a global scale exceeding 300 million. Can they really be this stupid? There has to be an agreement with this GreatReset to act against the people in such a manner.

Food Shortages to Reduce the Population Brought to you by the COVID Triumvirate

This is a photo of the food line beside the Brooklyn Bridge approach in New York City that prevailed between 1930 and 1935. Never before in history have Americans had to cue in line for food since this orchestrated pandemic by Gates, Fauci, and Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. Food prices are also rising because of this dynamic trio because they have deliberately shut down food production. Farmers have been unable to get their food to market because of the lockdowns and social distancing.

Today, there are food lines once again because of this dynamic trio, the COVID Triumvirate, composed of Gates, Fauci, & Schwab. Food lines have appeared around the country from Miami to New York City. Farmers were already being pushed into bankruptcies in 2019. That is only getting worse because this COVID Triumvirate also wants to end meat production to reduce CO2 (the World Economic Forum is pushing hard to end meat production).

$65 Oil And $5000 Gold: Traders Expect Volatility In Key Commodities

$65 Oil And $5000 Gold: Traders Expect Volatility In Key Commodities

The year of the pandemic put two commodities under the spotlight, but for different reasons. Gold prices hit an all-time high in August, while crude oil slipped into negative for a day in April, when demand crashed and inventories soared.

Both oil and gold have seen much volatility this year. Oil prices started 2020 at over $60 a barrel, dipped to the low teens in April – with front-month WTI Crude futures settling one day at a negative price – and rose to $40 in the summer, staying rangebound since then. The crash in demand pushed oil lower, while increased uncertainty over the economic and oil demand recovery, as well as the fears of a second COVID-19 wave, pushed investors to seek safe havens such as gold, driving the precious metal’s price to an all-time high of $2,075 an ounce last month.

The wild rides in the two commodities could represent buying opportunities, analysts argue, expecting oil and gold to rise in the medium term.

For oil, the uptrend may not come as soon as it could in gold, because of the heightened concern about the stalled demand recovery. Still, investment banks and analysts expect prices to increase from current levels over the next one to two years, especially if an effective vaccine hits the markets in 2021.

For gold, low or negative interest rates, continued economic stimulus, and the perception that gold is a hedge against uncertainty about the economy and the upcoming U.S. presidential election are expected to drive prices higher.

Alissa Corcoran, Director of Research at Kopernik Global Investors, told MarketWatch’s Myra P. Saefong that the short-term volatility in commodities could be an opportunity instead of risk.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Paris Erupts into Protests Against Macron & Lockdowns

Today in Paris, many thousands of “yellow vests” took to the streets to demonstrate against French President Emmanuel Macron and the French government over its draconian lockdowns and CORONA restrictions. This was a massive riot where police not only used tear gas and batons, they were firing both rubber bullets and live ammunition. These lockdowns are by no means about taking care of people. This is raw tyranny and we will see if they even stand for election in 2021/2022.

The next French Presidential election will begin Friday, April 8, 2022. What is interesting is when we look at the Quarterly Array on the French CAC-40, it is clearly showing the first quarter will be very volatile. This is clearly the impact of the French elections and there is a deep concern that Macron will even suspend the elections under the pretense of a national emergency as we saw in New Zealand. The protests of the “yellow vests” against Macron began back in November 2018. They were initially triggered by rising fuel prices and a pension reform plan. We are looking at sheer political chaos in France as the elections will come 43 months from the beginning of these protests (50% of 86).

Economic War with China is the Final Step Before the “Great Reset”

Economic War with China is the Final Step Before the "Great Reset"

With the pandemic dominating the news cycle, the general public has been completely distracted from a much more important crisis; namely, the economic crisis. To be sure, economic decay is not as swift or exciting, but I doubt that’s why the mainstream media mostly ignores the issue. From my experience, the media tends to omit coverage of the things they don’t want the population to notice or think about.

Right now, the only word spoken on the economy is “recovery”. Of course, if you’ve been reading my recent articles, you know that the recovery narrative is nonsense. With the small business sector on the verge of collapse, the U.S. economy has no means to recover unless we see a sudden resurgence in industrial production and domestic factories built, and with corporate debt at historic highs, there’s simply no money for that right now. Good luck trying to bankroll a manufacturing renaissance in the middle of a stagflationary environment.

That’s not to say that the rest of the world is much better off, but the U.S. suffers from the added weight of its past financial and monetary “success”. Let me explain…

Recent generations have grown up conditioned to believe that, through the power of central bank fiat currency, all problems can be solved. There has even been a concerted effort within the media to support this lie. Remember when propaganda rags like The Atlantic claimed that central bankers like Ben Bernanke were “the real heroes” saving the economy?

That’s the narrative young adults and investors today have grown up with. Now, whether they believe it is another matter, but as we can see in the world of Robinhood stock trading, there has been little concern for the concept of “bubble markets”.

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How the left is using the coronavirus to make the world a twisted dystopia

How the left is using the coronavirus to make the world a twisted dystopia

Today’s bureaucrats and elitists are striving toward the creation of a global, communistic police state.
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SHUTTERSTOCK.COM 

If you were living in a dystopia, how would you even know it?

The current situation certainly raises the question, as we experience unprecedented restrictions on individual freedom adopted in response to the Chinese coronavirus, coupled with left-wing riots that undermine the legitimacy of America’s core institutions. It’s becoming clear that these social changes are dystopian, not merely because they are harmful and coercive, but because they seek to replace the American way of life with a new social order rooted in utopian visions.

In a January 2019 essay on the overuse of the word “dystopia” in American political discourse, Miami University of Ohio professor Ryan J. Barilleaux wrote that the defining features of an actual dystopia are “social regimentation, dehumanization, abuse of technology, state terror, a new class of rulers, propaganda instead of truth, inevitable totalitarianism, and the tragedy of the individual.”

“When combined, these features sketch the map of dystopia,” wrote Barilleaux.

“Dystopia is what results from the attempt to create utopia,” he explained. “Consider the society of Brave New World, which is horrible precisely to the extent that the World State was designed to be exactly as it is.”

This year’s warp-speed cultural transformation has brought about all of Barilleaux’s hallmarks of a dystopia. The utopia today’s bureaucrats and elitists are striving toward is a global, communistic police state. This police state is sold to ordinary people not as that, but as a safe, virus-free society. Who wouldn’t want that?

Its architects admit that they won’t stop at a vaccine. “We will not, we cannot go back to the way things were,” World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said August 21.

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Book Review: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy

In January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic outlook for 2020 to 2030. It is horrific reading. Federal budget deficits are projected to rise from $1.0 trillion this year to $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years.

Federal debt will rise to 98% of GDP by 2030, “its highest percentage since 1946,” the CBO says. “By 2050, debt would be 180% of GDP—far higher than it has ever been.” And that was before Covid-19 hit. Now those numbers will be much, much worse.

On top of this, politicians have been announcing grand schemes for further spending: $47 billion on free college tuition, $1 trillion for new infrastructure, $1.4 trillion to write off student loan debt, at least $7 trillion on the Green New Deal and $32 trillion on Medicare for All. By one estimate, these new proposals total an estimated $42.5 trillion over the next decade.

Adding these new spending proposals to the flood of red ink the CBO projects just from following the current path, the federal government is set to face a serious fiscal crisis in the not-too-distant future.

KEEP PRINTING

Or, perhaps not. There is an idea afoot in economics that, as Bernie Sanders’ former economic advisor Stephanie Kelton argues in her new book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, could revolutionize the field in the same way that Copernicus did to astronomy by showing that the earth orbited the sun.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) states that “in almost all instances federal deficits are good for the economy. They are necessary.” That being so, we don’t have to worry about this coming deluge of red ink, indeed:

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France Again Being Forced To Stimulate Is Bad News

France Again Being Forced To Stimulate Is Bad News

France Holds Title Of World’s Most Visited Nation

On Thursday the French government rolled out a new stimulus plan The fact France is again forced to stimulate its economy should be viewed as bad news. The move reflects the reality that all is not well and things are getting worse. France is facing one of Europe’s worst recessions and its deepest since World War Two. France is looking at posting an 11% drop in GDP 2020. This follows a 13.8% second-quarter contraction that coincided with the covid-19 lock-down. This is seen as an attempt to bolster French President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election prospects. Macron is not loved by many of the French people and the “Yellow Vest” protesters that have marched against his policies are proof of this. If France moves back to the right support for a stronger Euro-zone government body will take a big hit.

The stimulus scheme designed to lift the country out of the recent slump aggravated by covid-19 will cost 100 billion euros or about 120 billion dollars. As with most government stimulus plans, it is aimed at reducing unemployment which French officials concede is slated to top 10% next year. The amount of this particular package is equal to roughly 4.5% of the GDP and brings this year’s total stimulus to around 10% of France’s GDP. The French government is betting that by supporting jobs they will give consumers the confidence to start spending the 100 billion euros they stashed away during the lock-down.

Stash Learn shows France as being the second-largest economy in Europe, and the sixth-largest in the world. As the world’s most visited nation, France’s tourism industry is a major component of the country’s economy. This means that France’s economy being in the muck is a big deal.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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